The Agenda

The Virtues of Psilocybin

Having seen the impact of severe mental illness up close, I find it frustrating when the federal government, out of moral panic, bans or even severely limits the use of any substance of therapeutic value. The Discover blog 80beats reports new findings that psilocybin, found in psychoactive mushrooms, can result in a long-lasting positive change in personality:

One of five broad measures of temperament used by psychologists, this quality is generally defined as openness to new ideas or experiences, awareness of feelings in the self and others, and is strongly tied to creativity and aesthetic appreciation. This is one of the first studies to link a single treatment with a drug in a laboratory setting to a long-lasting change in personality.

And this leaves aside the impact of psilocybin on those with anxiety or depression:

While other research suggests that psilocybin has the potential to treat mental conditions like anxiety and depression, this study shows it also may have the power to change mentally-healthy people’s personalities, likely for the better (as rated by the study participant’s themselves and their loved ones).

Here is a happiness agenda that is not incompatible with an approach to our common life founded on the importance of earned success: let’s allow for the responsible use of psilocybin.  

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